“I am persuaded,” said Claude Bernard, “that the day will come, when the man of science, the philosopher and the poet will all understand each other.” Whatever we may think of this prophecy, we most of us feel that the one-sided absolutism of the past, whether religious or scientific, is no longer possible. The inevitable vehemence of the reaction against bigotry and superstition has, in a measure, spent itself, and the best minds of the present, influenced by the spirit of Socrates’ claim to wisdom, are cautiously and tentatively feeling their way to a nicer adjustment of the scales of thought.
Catherine was a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church and the souls of all who came under her influence. Her Dialogue has been called a great tapestry to which Catherine adds stitch upon stitch until she is satisfied that she has communicated all she can of what she has learned of the way of God. Six centuries after her death, we live in a time so badly in need of her sense of institutional reform as flowing from Divine truth, love and charity. In the opening pages Catherine presents a series of questions or petitions to God the Father, each of which receives a response and amplification. There is the magnificent symbolic portrayal of Christ as the bridge. There are specific discussions of discernment, tears (true and false spiritual emotion), truth, the sacramental heart ('mystic body') of the Church, divine providence, obedience. It is not so much a treatise to be read as it is a conversation to be entered into with earnest leisure and leisurely earnest.